Tag Archives for " email marketing "

May 31, 2016

How frequently should you email?

This is Maeshowe, found on the Scottish island of Orkney. 5000 years old, Maeshowe is one of the largest stone-age manmade structures anywhere in the world.


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Maeshowe is a tomb, with a narrow passage leading to the inside. For 364 days a year the inside of the tomb is completely dark. Then at sunset on winter solstice, something remarkable happens.

Maeshowe on winter solstice

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At sunset on the shortest day the setting sun perfectly aligns with the passage, lighting up the chamber inside. It’s a remarkable feat of astrology and engineering, especially given the system still works 5000 years after construction.

The sun has been revered and worshipped by people across culture and time, but the critical thing about the sun is its predictability.

We know at exactly what time the sun is going to come up each day. Based on this predictability we structure our days and our lives. The Neolithic people of Orkney knew enough about the sun’s predictable movements to construct giant monuments.

How thrown off would you be if one day the sun never came up?

Or if the sun was just a bit… late?

Would it fill you with confidence?

I get asked ‘how often should I email’ reasonably regularly. I’m not 100% bored of answering the question, but you might say it is a little irksome. Frequency is not as important as predictability.

Predictability means showing up exactly when you said you were going to show up.

If you have sharp eyes you might have noticed that these emails come at the same time every day. This is a deliberate move on my part. Like the arrival of the morning sun, you can guarantee that at 9AM UK time on a working week day there will be an email from me in your inbox.

I don’t have hard evidence to support this but I believe that sending your communications to a consistent public schedule encourages higher engagement rates. For a start, reading these emails becomes a habit you can do at the same time every time of the day, if you choose.

Secondly, when I get an email out of the blue from someone I once-upon-a-time subscribed to my first thought is “uh oh. What do they want?”

Reliability has to be on your terms, not on mine. The people that work with me instigate a sales conversation when they believe they are ready to do so, not when I would necessarily like them to. All I do with these emails is leave a steady stream of regular open doors in front of your face.

Many people tell me that daily emails are too regular for their audience. The truth in that statement is that daily emails will be too much for your entireaudience.

If your message is important enough (and therefore valuable enough to your recipients) there will be some people on your list who want to hear from you every day.

The question you have to address is whether there are enough of these people to financially compensate you for writing to them every day. Or to financially compensate you to pay someone to write to them every day on your behalf.

It’s not hocus pocus, it’s actually a financial calculation.

If the answer is ‘no’, that that is fine. Set a less frequent publishing schedule.

Really this is about questioning your assumptions. I assumed for years that nobody would want to hear from me every day. Ninety of you think there is sufficient value in these ramblings to receive them every day. From two month’s work and a starting list of 1000 contacts I don’t think that is a bad outcome.

Anyhow, we can all now stop asking pointless questions like ‘how often should I email’. Instead try asking ‘how often is it worth me emailing’?

You can figure the logistics out after that.

May 5, 2016

Overt vs covert calls to action

I spend quite a lot of time at home. At home I am not what you might call a ‘tidy person’. I will wander around the house thinking about Infusionsoft, or some such issue. While I am doing this I will leave cupboard doors ajar, pull out pots and pans, and generally make a mess.

I notice none of this until I am nagged.

We were talking yesterday about calls to action. I think calls to action in emails are misunderstood. Use too many calls to action or repeat the same call to action too many times and you turn in to a bit of a nag.

Nag nag nag. Buy my stuff. Nag nag.

Nobody likes a nag, and nagging drains the Reservoir of Goodwill you have built up with your readers.

So we have a problem. We want to include a call to action in every email. But we don’t want to come across as a nag.

There are two types of call to action: overt and covert. An overt call to action is generally what comes to mind when we think of a marketing email. An overt call to action will be a button or link telling the reader what to do.

I have three thoughts on overt calls to action.

1. Most people use too many links in a single email

I have been guilty of this. Up until recently I had about four sitting at the bottom of every email. I am now down to one, and I am considering getting rid of that one too.

When you include standard calls to action in the footer of your emails people become blind to them after a while. Have you ever noticed the link below that says ‘Copywriting services and courses’? I would like to know actually.

Overt calls to action are most effective when the call to the action is the only link in the email. You can repeat the link if you like, perhaps once at the beginning and once at the end of your content. But for maximum effectiveness it should be the same link.

When you give people more than one thing to do they generally do neither.

2. Too many links can cause deliverability problems

Adding multiple links to your emails is also a classic deliverability problem. The more links you have in your emails the more likely your emails are to wind up in the s.p.a.m folder.

If you think about it a personal email sent from Gmail or Outlook will rarely have that many links. Email is ultimately a personal medium.

3. Including the same links in every email makes you sound like a nag

Nagging is a skill required of accountants and administration staff. And apparently, wives. It is not a helpful skill when you are writing marketing emails.

Use ‘covert’ calls to action as a primer

A covert call to action is a passive mention of your products and services, explicitly with no link. Covert calls to action fly under the radar because they don’t show up as calls to action.

Every time I explain something about my Nurture Email Mastery course, that is a covert call to action. Every time I mention my Introvert’s Corner newsletter that is a covert call to action.

Covert calls to action are like primers. They raise awareness of your products in your customer’s mind so that when an overt call to action comes along they know what you are talking about and they pay attention to it.

You can and should be liberal with your covert calls to action. It is very difficult to offend anyone with a covert call to action because they won’t even know you are doing it.

There will be an overt call to action coming your way tomorrow.

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